Category Archives: History

Hemp in Tuscany

Margaret Baravalle, founder of Assocanapa and Felice Giraudo, historic president, explain how important it is to revive Tuscany’s long tradition of industrial hemp cultivation and the Italian variety called “Carmagnola.”

Since the sixteenth century, Italian hemp was considered the best in the world and the most valuable seed was the” Carmagnola,” which was grown in the Turin area. The shipbuilding industry relied heavily on hemp. Hemp was also used in the military as a versatile and durable material.

In the twentieth century, hemp production almost disappeared around the world.  But Italy maintained its commitment to hemp. Carmagnola was produced for seed and Caserta was grown mainly for fiber. Since 1990 Italy has managed to change the law for the cultivation of hemp and the market is reopening. Important germplasm has been preserved for the “Carmagnola”, the “CS” and “Fibranova.” Hemp is being used today in the textile industry, in the pharmaceutical industry, in the food sector (oil, flour, etc..), and in the construction sector. 

For more information (in Italian), please visit:

Industrial Hemp Benefits – and Questions

Hemp has several undeniable benefits. The profitability of industrial hemp is somewhat up for debate considering it is not competitively priced with any of it’s alternatives (ie cotton, tree paper, plastic, etc). They say it’s because it’s all imported and in a small niche market. The argument goes that if hemp were legal, farmers would grow it, factories would flourish, and hemp products would become cheaper than their unsustainable alternatives through economy of scale.

However, Industrial Hemp is already legal in much of the developed world- Europe, China, Australia, Canada, just to name a few. These countries grow hemp and can legally conduct as much research as they want.

So, why do these developed countries have such primitive hemp industries? If hemp has so much potential for profit, why has China not produced Hemp like they produce any other product? Some countries have never banned hemp- yet the industry suffered as if it were banned. Why do these countries not pursue hemp to its full potential?

Thanks – Ben

Industrial Hemp Brochure Published

Industrial Hemp Brochure Published
Printed on hemp paper, this NAIHC brochure explains the many econonic and environmental reasons for once again allowing U.S. farmers to grow industrial hemp — a crop grown and valued by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Includes comments and photos of NAIHC directors. (PDF file, requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®, available free.

Did Jefferson draft the Constitution on Hemp paper?

I hope this letter can reach the correct party. I am trying to add your website as a source for the fact that the Constitution was drafted on Hemp paper to and am receiving feedback from my peers saying that your website doesn’t cite the source for the “claim”. Could you help me locate the source of the fact that “George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.” If so it would be much appreciated? Thanks, Jared

Jared belcher

Kenyon Gibson’s New Book on Hemp?

Where can I buy  the new “Hemp for Victory” book?

#1.  Kenyon Gibson’s new book is titled: Hemp for Victory: History and Qualities of the World’s Most Useful Plant. Paperback, printed on treefree hemp paper. Mina Hegaard of Minawear Hemp Clothing is one US distributor. U.S. retail price is $29.95. Bulk orders can be made via Kenyon Gibson, or from the publisher’s site,  More information is available from Kenyon Gibson or from his web site which includes a link to a recent Guardian article about hemp and the book.

Hemp History for Author

I have a question about the history of hemp production in the U.S. Was hemp farming practiced by the small-scale farmer, or was it so labor intensive that it was only profitable for larger operations? Specifically, what I need to know is: could a family farmer make more than a subsistence living growing hemp in the pre- and early Civil War period? I am considering making a minor character in a novel I am writing a hemp farmer if it’s realistic to do so. I have been unable to find any books or web sites that give a detailed historical account of hemp cultivation in this country. If you know of any, I would appreciate the information. Thank you very much, David Blankenship

A #2. David, all the best with your book. There are a number of books on hemp history, including two published in 1900: Hemp, by S.S. Boyce, and The Reign of Law, by James Lane Allen. Boyce, the northerner, tends to speak in terms of a single farmer, but there was the fact that hemp was labour intensive and much slave labour was employed. Les Stark, in his Hempstone Heritage Series has researched hemp in Pennsylvania, using wills as his records, and I believe there is evidence of single farmers from this. Perhaps the best works on hemp in the south are James Hopkins’ “A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky” and Brent Moore’s “A Study of the Past, the Present, and the Possibilities of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky”. There will be relevant information also on the web at, where you can use a key word search to take you right to where you want to look. Please feel free to contact me as well if you have further questions. Kenyon Gibson, author of “Hemp for Victory: History and Qualities of the World’s Most Useful Plant.”

A #1. Regarding your question about small hemp farmers: Yes. Read “The Reign of Law: A Tale of the Kentucky Hemp Fields” by James Allen. It’s out of print (of course) but it’s a beautiful American story. As far back as the first American colonies, it was mandatory to grow hemp so the communities would have enough to survive. You could also pay your taxes with hemp. Good luck,